Different personal factors affect someone’s safety on the road. You already know that you need to monitor the people near you in traffic for signs of issues like intoxication or distraction. There is another personal condition that makes it unsafe for someone to operate a motor vehicle, and it is arguably more common than distraction or chemical impairment.
Drowsy driving is an epidemic in the United States. Most adults do not get enough sleep and therefore do not operate at peak cognitive capability. Although many people use caffeine and other stimulants to stay awake, those chemicals do not reduce the effect of sleep deprivation. They simply mask the symptoms temporarily.
Drowsy drivers can be hard to spot on the road, but they can absolutely cause crashes that result in serious injuries or massively expensive property damage.
Why is drowsy driving so dangerous?
You need enough sleep to make the best use of your physical and cognitive capabilities. When you feel tired, you won’t be able to perform at your personal peak. The longer you go without sleep, the more significant the effect of your exhaustion on your driving will become.
Experts actually compare the effects of fatigue to alcohol intoxication. Drivers who have gone more than 20 hours without sleep can show signs of impaired decision-making, difficulty paying attention and even trouble staying awake. A drowsy driver might not notice important warning signs of risk, or they might make the wrong choice about how to react to those dangers.
Drowsy driving can be hard to prove
Unlike chemical intoxication, there is no test to check a driver for signs of fatigue at the wheel that produces reliable and scientifically accurate results. While it is not illegal for people to be drowsy at the wheel unless they are commercial drivers who have been on the road too long according to hours of service rules, many drowsy drivers still lie when questioned because they don’t want to take the blame for the crash.
Drivers who suspect drowsiness is a cause for their recent wreck may need to carefully communicate with police officers about their suspicions and focus their claims on provable actions rather than on suspicions. Understanding the various risk factors for serious collisions can help protect you from a major car wreck.